Alcohol and Illicit Drug Abuse in Pregnancy

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Alcohol and Illicit Drug Abuse in Pregnancy

Amy Luman


February 10, 2010

Philip Fasso

When a woman becomes pregnant, it is vital to her baby's health that she leads a healthy life. This includes eating plenty of nourishing food, fulfilling an adequate amount of rest, and exercising regularly. For a pregnant woman, pregnancy substance abuse is twice as dangerous. First, drugs may harm her own health, which interferes with her ability to support the pregnancy. Second, some drugs can directly impair prenatal development. During pregnancy, virtually all illegal drugs pose a danger. Even legal substances, such as alcohol, tobacco, and prescription drugs are dangerous to expecting women. As many as one in 10 babies may be born to women who use illegal and prescription drugs during their pregnancies. While some prescription drugs may be necessary during pregnancy, alcohol consumption and illicit drug abuse is frightfully dangerous during pregnancy, and therefore pregnant women should value their value their babies and never misuse them.

Healthy Lifestyle

Pregnancy should be taken seriously and one should implement a healthy lifestyle to keep them and their unborn child safe. A pregnant woman’s lifestyle habits as well as her partner’s can gravely affect the health of their unborn baby. If the couple has already taken these precautions into action, it is encouraged and should be continued throughout the entire pregnancy. It is never too late for a pregnant woman to start thinking about making behavior changes, which in turn are good for her unborn child.  Staying active during pregnancy is one stride closer to bearing a healthy child. Being active during pregnancy can have only positive effects on the expecting mother, with her feeling better and developing more energy.

Physical activity can also help maintain muscle tone and strength for labor and birth. A great deal of benefits can come to a woman and her unborn by lightly exercising on a selected number of days a week. There are many types of physical activity and exercise, ranging from mild stretching to aerobic exercise. If an expecting mother is already involved in daily physical activities, there is no need for her to stop. If not, it is a good time for her to start doing something on a regular basis. Daily activities like walking up stairs, cleaning the house, and gardening are also good ways to keep active (Childbirth Connection, 2010). Making exercise an essential part of the day will in the end, only make a happy ending for both mother and her unborn.

Being a healthy body weight is important before pregnancy. So eating a well balanced diet throughout pregnancy is very important to the health of oneself and child. Almost all pregnant women need to increase their intake of protein, certain vitamins and minerals such as folic acid and iron, and calories (for energy). Women who eat well and avoid known risks tend to have fewer complications during pregnancy and labor and are more likely to deliver larger, healthier babies. Eating a well-balanced diet, high in nutrients, is one of the most important things a woman can do to ensure the future health of both her and her baby (Isenberg, 2000-2009).

Fetuses born to mothers who have unhealthy diets may be premature or have other problems at birth. In addition, recent research indicates that what a mother eats during the early months of pregnancy may determine her unborn child’s predisposition to certain diseases, such as diabetes and cancer. Eating a balanced diet during pregnancy can help to protect the health of both mother and baby.

During pregnancy, a woman needs more of some nutrients, such as iron, calcium, and folic acid. For this reason, it is wise to start taking a multivitamin before pregnancy. Vitamins should be an essential part of every mother’s diet and daily routine when expecting. Prescribed multivitamins by one’s health care provider are very...
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